Arthur de Laborde (special envoy to Tunisia), edited by Gauthier Delomez
10:08 p.m., November 19, 2022
In Djerba, Tunisia, for the Francophonie summit, Emmanuel Macron acknowledged a decline in the French language in the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa. The French president presented himself as the bearer of “a reconquest project” in the face of the decline in the use of the language of Molière.
Fifth most spoken language in the world with 321 million speakers, is French losing ground? This is the concern shared by the president Emmanuel Macronin Djerba in Tunisia on the occasion of the Francophonie summit attended by some thirty Heads of State. The tenant of the Élysée emphasizes in particular the loss of influence of French in the Maghreb and in sub-Saharan Africa.
“You have to be lucid: in the Maghreb countries, we speak less French than 20 or 30 years ago”, notes Emmanuel Macron.
A spade slipped to Éric Zemmour
The president remarks that there have “sometimes been quasi-political forms of resistance. It is a language that may seem more difficult, there has been a desire to reinhabit other languages by saying to oneself ‘that’s how that we find our political path”, affirms the Head of State.
To give back to the language of Molière its universal character, Emmanuel Macron wants to be the bearer of an ambitious project that he qualifies with a word dear to Éric Zemmour. “The Francophonie must be both a space of resistance and reconquest. This word has sometimes been taken by others, in my eyes, wrongly”, slips the president.
Agreement to strengthen the teaching of French in Tunisia
This “reconquest” is embodied this Saturday by the signing, with his Tunisian counterpart Kaïs Saïed, of an agreement to strengthen the teaching of French. A loan of 200 million euros will also be granted by France to Tunisia. Finally, Emmanuel Macron also wants to make 2024 a key date by hosting the summit of La Francophonie, a few weeks before the Olympic Games.